Neither Steve Jobs nor Bill Gates invented the computer, they just took an existing technology and figured out how it could be used in far more reaching ways than ever conceived by its inventors.
Steve Forbes, Editor-in-chief of the 100 year plus Forbes Magazine spoke from the Pendulum New York stage this time last year and planted some seeds in my thinking about ‘purpose’; what is mine and what is yours? The notion gathered momentum in the last week or so as I spoke to more and more people and realized that most people have no idea that they have a purpose, let alone what it might be.
In this week’s “Coffee with Colm” I plan to revisit and explore this for us; you and I.
In the same way that Jobs and Gates didn’t invent the computer, just leveraged it better than anyone else on the planet, an American lady called Ruth Handler didn’t invent the doll. Dolls have been around forever but Ruth noticed that they were always modeled after babies or infants – she came across a somewhat racy German doll called Lilli and instantly saw a market for a more grown up play device for girls – and that is how Barbie came to be! A billion Barbies later, the iconic doll is still going strong. Ruth Handler; a woman of purpose.
Did you see Brad Pitt in Moneyball? Great movie about a small-time (relatively speaking) manager of Oakland Athletics Baseball team who didn’t have the budget of the giants in the game so decided in order to be able to compete he would look at the game differently – Billy Beane then took Bill James’ ‘sabermetrics’ concept of measurement and using statistics alone, cobbled together an inexpensive, yet field-beating team that made no sense, except on paper – no sense that is until it made all the sense in the world and every baseball team followed suit! Billy Beane changed baseball forever – a man with purpose.
Starbucks ‘Disneyized’ a Milanese or Viennese cafe experience and leveraged it into the global giant it is today. Starbucks – an organisation on purpose.
Malcolm McLean, a trucker, was fed up with the inefficiencies he saw in transportation by road and sea and so he invented the ‘container’ that adorns every ship, port and truck on the planet today. A man of purpose.
Not every organization that starts out ‘on purpose’ will last the test of time however and Forbes reminded us of the demise of the 124-year old Kodak. Founded in 1888 Kodak was in the image creation industry – it morphed into the chemical film industry confusing it with its purpose and so when digital came in, Kodak forgot its original purpose and tried to hold on to chemical film – disastrous – it folded in 2012.
The question posed by all of these examples is simple; “What is your purpose?” Do you have one? Did you even know you needed one? Are you feeling lost? frustrated? unfulfilled? Could it be because you haven’t figured out why you are here.
Peter Drucker posed the question of organisations back in the day, encouraging us to figure out our ‘why’ – Simon Sinek carries the same torch today.
Victor Frankl in his wonderful treatise, “Man’s Search For Meaning’ says “…we detect rather than invent our missions in life.” Have you detected yours yet? If not, why not? Could it be that you are too busy? Too busy putting bread on the table to take a few minutes off the hamster wheel that you call life to figure out what it’s all about?
If that is the case, may I recommend two things?
- Please watch Stephen Covey’s 80th Birthday Video here to get you thinking about your end game – click here.
- Please have a look at the tools and tips I offer through my own work, in my blog about defining Your 2020 Vision – click here.
I really hope you will take some time out this week and sit quietly to allow your mind at least start figuring out your life’s purpose. This piece by Yours Truly may help; Allow Your Soul Catch Up With Your Body this weekend
Thank you for thinking with me, I wish you well
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Did you enjoy that? Fancy a sip of some of my recent “Coffee with Colm” Blog posts:
- Commercial Loneliness is Not Cool (and what you can do about it if you are a ‘Lonelypreneur’) – click here.
- What if, at the end of each day, Life were to ask, “Would you like to save the changes?” – click here.
- What Is Your Destiny? (for was your DNA differs from every other person on the planet; so does your destiny – click here.
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